ED­I­TO­RIAL

SP's LandForces - - COVER STORY - Lt Gen­eral (Retd) V.K. Kapoor

The month of Oc­to­ber 2013 saw In­dia and China tak­ing some nec­es­sary steps for­ward in or­der to was ex­ac­er­bated by the in­tru­sions of Chi­nese troops in Ladakh ear­lier this year. Of the nine pacts signed be­tween In­dia and China dur­ing Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh’s visit, one of the most im­por­tant is on main­tain­ing peace and tran­quil­lity along the bor­der be­tween the coun­tries. Given the con­tin­u­ing dif­fer­ences on the line of ac­tual con­trol (LAC), this bor­der de­fence agree­ment signed on Oc­to­ber 23, 2013, as­sumes sig con­cerns peace and tran­quil­lity along the LAC be­tween In­dia and China. The four ear­lier agree­ments in­clude the ac­cords al­most on sim­i­lar lines signed in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2012, all re­lat­ing work­ing mech­a­nism be­tween the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of both na­tions.

Ad­di­tion­ally, both sides pledged to re­alise the “full prom­ise” of their part­ner­ship and share “the friendli­est of re­la­tions”. With more than a third of the world’s pop­u­la­tion liv­ing in In­dia and China, the two coun­tries can be “one huge trad­ing bloc”, say the strate­gic an­a­lysts on both sides. China is al­ready one of In­dia’s top trad­ing part­ners: the two sides have agreed for a new $100 bil­lion bi­lat­eral trade tar­get for 2015, up from over $66 bil­lion in 2012. The two coun­tries to­gether ac­count for 36.7 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, 10.8 per cent of its gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, and 10.4 per cent of the global trade. Hence in one sense, In­dia-China re­la­tions have tran­scended bi­lat­eral di­men­sions to - the premiers of two of the world’s largest na­tions.

The Bor­der De­fence Agree­ment of Oc­to­ber 23, 2013, pro­vides a tem­plate as it ex­plains in con­clu­sion that this agree­ment “may be re­vised, amended or ter­mi­nated with the con­sent of the two sides” and any such re­vi­sion or amend­ment, “mu­tu­ally agreed by the two sides, shall form an in­te­gral part of this agree­ment”. Clearly, this pro­vides elas­tic­ity to the agree­ment, in terms of ad­dress­ing any fu­ture is­sues.

The high­lights of the agree­ment are:

The two sides shall im­ple­ment bor­der de­fence co­op­er­a­tion by exchanging in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion about mil­i­tary ex­er­cises, air­craft, de­mo­li­tion op­er­a­tions and un­marked mines and take mea­sures con­ducive to the main­te­nance of peace, sta­bil­ity and tran­quil­ity along the LAC in the In­dia-China bor­der ar­eas. The two sides will jointly com­bat smug­gling of arms, wildlife ar­ti­cles and other con­tra­bands.

Un­der the agree­ment, In­dian and Chi­nese sides will as­sist the other side in lo­cat­ing per­son­nel, live­stock and means of trans­port and aerial ve­hi­cles that may have crossed or are pos­si­bly in the process of cross­ing the LAC.

Work with the other side in com­bat­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters or in­fec­tious dis­eases that may af­fect or spread to the other side. The co­op­er­a­tion shall be im­ple­mented through The Ar­ti­cle VIII of the agree­ment says that both sides shall ex­er­cise max­i­mum self-re­straint, re­frain from any provoca­tive ac­tions, not use force against each other if the bor­der de­fence forces of the two sides come to a face-to-face sit­u­a­tion in ar­eas where there is no com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the LAC.

The two sides, un­der the Ar­ti­cle VII, also agreed that ei­ther side will have the right to seek a clari sit­u­a­tion arises with ref­er­ence to any ac­tiv­ity in bor­der ar­eas.

The two sides agreed that they shall not fol­low or tail pa­trols of the other side in the In­dia-China bor­der ar­eas.

The agree­ment also pro­vides for about reg­u­lar meet­ings of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Min­istry of De­fence of the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fence of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China.

Let us hope that this pro­gres­sively leads to the so­lu­tion of the bound­ary is­sue in the long run.

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